European Union and UNICEF help to protect the rights of the vulnerable children
Khmelnytsky, 7 April 2011 – the Khmelnytsky Oblast State Administration hosted a meeting to evaluate the progress of the joint European Union (EU) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported Action ‘Development of Gatekeeping Policies and Systems for Institutionalized and Other Vulnerable Children’. Aiming to protect the rights of institutionalized children and other vulnerable children in the pilot Khmelnytsky Oblast, the Action is also developing related national regulations.
Since July 2009, the Action is helping to reform the current system of care of institutionalized children and other children vulnerable to institutionalization. The Action works to support children in their own families or in alternative families within Ukraine. ‘Placing a child in any residential institutions should be the last resort, when all possibilities are exhausted for supporting the child in her or his own caring family, or in an alternative family environment,’ - said UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Yukie Mokuo.
International experience suggests that the success of reforming child care systems largely depends on the efficiency of preventive social work with vulnerable families with children at the community level. In Ukraine, the majority of children deprived of parental care are not biological orphans, but have lost their parents due to social reasons, and therefore the Action emphasizes prevention of problems that may lead to the separation of children from their families. This Action is a part of the European Union’s strategy in Ukraine aimed to consolidate and protect women’s and children’s rights. The Action has already helped to improve the state programme for in-service training of foster parents and parents of family- type children homes, to draft standards of social work for prevention of abandonment of new-born babies and young children, and to develop proposals for improving prevention and response to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of children.
The Khmelnytsky Oblast social workers have already analysed the situation of about 350 children, and will involve in total 500, helping to place as many as possible from institutions into families. Although 79.9 percent of over 2,400 orphaned children and children deprived of parental care in the Oblast live in the guardianship and foster forms care, there are still 583 orphaned children and children deprived of parental care children in short-term and long term residential care.
‘I hope that experience accumulated during implementation of this project will be valuable for developing and introducing comprehensive social services for children at the regional and national level,’ - said Counsellor, Head of the Section of Economic Cooperation, Social and Regional Development Mr. Jose Roman Leon Lora.
‘The Oblast Administration considers the cooperation with European Union and UNICEF not only as an opportunity to improve alternative family placements of orphaned children and children without parental care, but as an ample resource for prevention of child and family separation in the first instance. I also hope that its implementation serves as a good example of introducing new technologies of preventive social work with families and children at the national level,’- underlined Deputy Head of Khmelnytsky Oblast State Administration Lilia Bernadska.
By the end 2011, the Action will analyse costs associated with different forms of care of children in state care, and will help to develop evidence based proposals for improving functional coordination between different government bodies responsible for taking decisions on vulnerable families and children.
For more details about the project, please contact: